This week, there was an unusual parallel between two very different festivals. Austin’s Fantastic Fest (which begins this weekend) and the Hamptons International Film Festival (which occurs next month) both announced initiatives to offer some of their programming for free streaming. Fantastic Fest has partnered with Bside and AMD to preview five features and five shorts from this year’s slate. You can watch them right here right now. Hamptons, meanwhile, announced a partnership with SnagFilms to showcase two documentaries simultaneous with their fest premieres. As a former festival person, I can tell you, this is something entirely new.
I don’t think these online debuts will affect the festival attendance or reception for the films. It comes down to two different audiences: people who wanna watch the film online from home and people who want to watch it in a theater at the festivals. Separate audiences, with almost equal influence. Coincidentally, Scott Kirsner mused about this very possibility two weeks ago.